Forest Service Roads
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Among many of the functions of the United States Forest Service (USFS) is the development and maintenance of Forest System roads that are relied upon by USFS and the public. The USFS uses these to maintain its forests, aid in fighting forest fires, allow public use, and other functions.
Some of these roads can be critical to local populations not just for recreation, but for regular travel. Such use is likely more common in rural and western states than it is for urban or eastern states.
The USFS specifically issues Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) that identify specifically where USFS allows use of their roads by public motor vehicles. Some of these roads are paved and well maintained, others are dirt but used like streets, while others are dirt roads that are not well maintained and will only accommodate 4x4 wheel vehicles.
Waze and Forest Service Roads
Creating accurate and properly represented USFS roads in Waze will:
- benefit large numbers of tourists and recreational users of USFS roads,
- allow those lost in some areas to navigate to regular roadways,
- allow local populations appropriate use of USFS roads,
- allow Waze editors to functionally classify roads by marking them with the appropriate Waze road type (street, 4x4, etc.),
- allow some roads to be marked as private to the USFS,
- allow time-based restrictions on some roads that are closed in winter.
The USFS Road Program website contains a number of resources that will be useful for Waze editors. Specific links follow.
Interactive Travel Map
The Interactive Travel Map shows the National Forest System roads, National Forest System trails, and areas on National Forest System lands that are designated for motor vehicle use. The map is searchable by vehicle class, time of year, route number, and travel mode. You can zoom into an area on a national forest or grassland, see the roads and trails in that area, and find out which ones are open to motor vehicles, and when. You can see rivers, lakes, mountain peaks, campgrounds, and topographic lines. Land ownership is shown by color. You can also print a map of the area you wish to visit.
USFS Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM)
Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) identify specifically where USFS allows use of their roads by public motor vehicles. They are available for a small fee in hard copy or can be found online in PDF format.
A listing of forests that maintain MVUM is available as a great resource for Waze editors. From this link you must select the appropriate forest listed by state. On those pages will be listed the MVUMs that are available.